Foreword from the independent chair
Everybody has the right to be free from harm. South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board is a statutory partnership of those organisations and people with key responsibilities to uphold this right. At the core of our work we have three duties, to develop and publish a strategic plan, publish an annual report and commission safeguarding adult reviews where necessary.
Our Strategic and Business Plan is published both on our website and in this report. We have increasingly sought to work hand-in-hand with the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board to deliver a more seamless approach. Our stated vision for safeguarding in South Gloucestershire is that children and adults thrive, reach their full potential and live their lives free from harm (violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation). To achieve this we work together and with local communities to improve outcomes and to ensure South Gloucestershire is a place where safeguarding is everybody’s business.
The Board is supported by a structure of subgroups who play a substantial role in making our vision and strategy an operational reality for staff delivering services and most importantly those in receipt of services and protection. I take this opportunity to thank those who work so hard as members of these groups and praise their commitment.
The publication of this annual report is an important opportunity to inform our communities of the safeguarding work undertaken, to review where progress has been made and most importantly, determine where future improvement is required. This report sets out with clarity and candour the further work we have prioritised for attention.
Within the period reported there has been no circumstance that has led to a requirement for a safeguarding adult review. Nevertheless opportunities have been taken to scrutinise local practices in order both to learn from the best examples of effectiveness and identify where things can be done better. This report includes a detailed summary of case audits organised by the Quality Assurance subgroup and undertaken by a team of multi-agency staff. Their findings deliver important information to underpin continuous improvement by partners. The audits are reported to the Board in detail and give a window on the realities of safeguarding for those who require support and protection.
A greater than national average growth in the proportion of our South Gloucestershire elderly population is something to be celebrated in terms of longevity and the enrichment that older people bring to families and communities. It is the case that this population is more likely to present safeguarding issues as a result of health or disability and important that safeguarding activity is properly resourced and skilled to meet demand. We have a lower than national average adult population with a disability or long-term health problem that limits day to day activity. The delivery of reliable safeguarding, with overall increasing demand and in the context of the national austerity programme, makes high quality partnership engagement more necessary than ever.
Circumstances change and it is important that safeguarding approaches are alert to emerging and growing risks. For example, as more people receive support for longer in their homes, staff training and assurance activities need to adapt to this circumstance. As further illustration of the need to be responsive we know that fraud and scam activity is a growing area of financial and emotional abuse from which vulnerable adults need to be protected. We are, as described in this report, working with trading standards to respond to this escalating risk of harm. The Board will always need to remain agile and prepared to adopt new approaches to best deliver safeguarding for our dynamic and ever changing community.
I hope that everyone reading this report will find themselves better informed and encouraged about the contribution they can make to deliver our vision that South Gloucestershire is a place where safeguarding is everybody’s business.
Sally Lewis OBE